Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Bee Gees Robin Gibb Speaks Out

Robin Gibb explains why he believes a memorial to the Bombers of World War II is of national importance.

Bee Gees member Robin Gibb is playing his first solo concert in Britain to raise funds and support to errect a memorial in London to the forgotten heroes of the World War II’s RAF Bomber Command.

Here he explains why he believes the monument is of national importance.

“These guys have been heroes for me since I was a young boy,” Gibb says. “I’m passionate about this campaign.”

“I really believe that these young men who laid down their lives, and those who survived and risked their lives should be recognised. They are the only division of the armed services which haven’t been and I think they should be honoured with a monument or statue in central London.”

During World War II the RAF bomber command played a crucial role in Britain’s defences, targeting the industrial towns and cities of Nazi Germany, destroying ammunition factories, oil refineries and infrastructure.

The scale and intensity of the offensive put Germany on the defensive, shook Nazi leadership and was key to Allied victory in 1945.

Gibb, who has been involved since December 2007, is keen to assert that this monument is to honour sacrifice - not glorify war.

“We sweep these things under the carpet in this country. These brave young men, who laid down their lives were actually saving all of Europe.”

“It was not a war we were waging. Our backs were against the wall, civilisation was in the balance, and this country was in danger of being occupied.”

“I don’t believe in war, but I also don’t believe in dictatorships, and Germany today enjoys a freedom and peace which they have never enjoyed throughout all of their history, and that is because of the courageous actions of the Bomber Command. They bought peace to all of Europe, not just for us - and at the expense of their own lives.”

Nearly all the RAF Command Bombers were young volunteers aged 18-22, from Britain, the commonwealth and refugees from Nazi occupied territory. In total 55,000 men died and 10,000 were captured. Those who made it onto the ground in one piece are considered the lucky ones because the g-force of a whirling plane hurtling to earth prevented many evacuating the cockpit.

Gibb also hopes the monument will set an example to young people today, who he says, have no respect for authority.

“The crime rate shows there is a distinct lack of respect for authority, for political high office, and law and order. This is displayed in every facet of society in the country and it needs to be addressed, because it can only get worse before it gets better. “

“We have guys fighting out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we don’t honour them enough as it is for what they are doing."

"Respect, honour and sacrifice are some of the things that should be brought to bear for young people in today’s society, and I think a monument is the first step in showing that we are not afraid to want to sacrifice, and that respect, responsibility, accountability and honour are still very fashionable human virtues, and not things that should be assigned to the past.”

“As long as we are dismissing the fact the Bomber Command monument is important, it will continue to become unimportant. We have to set an example. I don’t believe authority should be out of control or dictatorial, but there should be law and order and a feeling of respect for authority and political high office. I think this has been lost over the past 30 years – and we have to get it back.”

Our lost patriotism is something else Gibb feels has eroded British society.

“The American Bomber Commands have been recognised in Washington for their part in the European bombing war, and they are very patriotic over there about what their guys did, and what their guys are doing now. “

“We have to get a feeling for this country back, the same way America has for it’s own country. We have to get respect back for the office of Prime Minister and high office, in the same way the Americans believe in the office of president.”

The Heritage Foundation, supported by the Bomber Command Association need £2 million for the memorial. So far £160,00 has been raised.

Robin Gibb plays at Windsor Race Course as the culmination of the Windsor Golden Egg Festival taking place over the weekend of July 12th - 13th, in aid of the Bomber Command campaign.

Web Links

Bob Baxter's Bomber Command Index - http://www.bomber-command.info/

RAF Bomber Command Website http://www.rafbombercommand.com/

By Rachael Hannan: 2008

Published on 50connect.co.uk

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